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Rear Admiral Bob Tarrant
The European Union is concerned with the continuing impact of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia on international maritime security and on the economic activities and security of countries in the region.
As a result and as part of a comprehensive approach, the EU has launched European Naval Force Somalia - Operation ATALANTA (EU NAVFOR - ATALANTA) within the framework of the European Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and in accordance with relevant UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) and International Law.
After the launch of EU NAVFOR - Operation ATALANTA in December 2008, the operation continues to successfully perform its mission and contributes to improving maritime security off the coast of Somalia and in the Indian Ocean. The Council of the EU has decided to extend the operation until December 2014.
By UNSC mandate, EU NAVFOR – Operation ATALANTA conducts:
- the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast;
- the protection of vessels of the World Food Programme (WFP) delivering food aid to displaced persons in Somalia; the protection of African Union Mission on Somalia (AMISOM) shipping;
- the protection of vulnerable shipping off the Somali coast on a case by case basis;
- in addition, EU NAVFOR - ATALANTA shall also contribute to the monitoring of fishing activities off the coast of Somalia.
EUNAVFOR - ATALANTA reached its Initial Operational Capability on 13 December 2008 and Full Operational Capability in February 2009. This operation, which is the first EU maritime operation, is currently commanded by Rear Admiral Bob Tarrant from the Operational Headquarters (OHQ) at Northwood, United Kingdom. There the Operation Commander plans and conducts the operation in conjunction with the political and military authorities of the European Union.
Rear Admiral Tarrant succeeded Rear Admiral Duncan L. Potts, Major General Buster Howes (UK), Rear Admiral Peter Hudson (UK), and Rear Admiral Philip Jones (UK). His Deputy is Rear Admiral Eric Dupont who succees Rear Admiral Gualtiero Mattesi.
Commodore Jorge Novo Palma, took office as the new EU Force Commander on 6 April 2013. The Force Commander is exercising command and control of all military forces in the Joint Operation Area. He is responsible for planning, orchestration and execution of military activities. He succeeds Rear Admiral Pedro Ángel García de Paredes Pérez de Sevilla. Previous EU NAVFOR Commanders were: Rear Admiral (LH) Enrico Credendino (IT) Rear-Admiral Jean-Baptiste DUPUIS (FR), Captain Jorge Manson, Rear Admiral Thomas E. P. Jugel (DE), Commodore Alberto Manuel Silvestre Correia (PT), Rear Admiral Juan Rodríguez (ES), Rear Admiral Philippe Coindreau (FR), Rear Admiral Jan Thörnqvist (SE), Rear Admiral Giovanni Gumiero (IT), Commodore Pieter Bindt (NL), Commander Juan Garat Caramé (ES), Commodore Antonios Papaioannou (GR ).
The EU participates in the work of the International Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia and has established cooperative frameworks and arrangements to enable EU NAVFOR - ATALANTA to cooperate effectively with other naval forces and assets deployed in the region such as NATO, the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and also units from China, India, Japan, Russia, Taiwan and others – all with varying mandates and mission objectives.
On 17 November 2009, the Council welcomed the proactive role taken by EUNAVFOR-Atalanta in the coordination between the multinational, national and regional naval forces operating in the area to ensure de-confliction, shared awareness and coordination in the disruption of piracy.
The Council welcomes the participation of Non-EU Member States such as Croatia, Montenegro, Norway and Ukraine to EU NAVFOR - Operation ATALANTA.
The Council noted that a large majority of successful attacks by pirates took place in circumstances where recommended best practice had apparently been ignored. Therefore, owners and operators who have vessels transiting the region are strongly encouraged to register their movements on the Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSCHOA), to improve their security and to adhere and implement the «Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy» (BMP).
The Council recalled the positive role taken by EU NAVFOR - ATALANTA in the SHADE (Shared Awareness and Deconfliction) mechanism to promote coordination between the multinational, national and regional naval forces operating in the area. In this respect, the Council welcomed the Chinese decision to cooperate more closely with other naval forces in taking active responsibility on a rotating basis for the coordination of naval assets in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor in the Gulf of Aden.
On 21 March 2011, the EU reiterated the need to strengthen initiatives to fight piracy. The EU commended the contribution of the EU counter-piracy operation to this end. EUNAVFOR - ATALANTA, will continue to adapt to the changing tactics of pirates and seek to implement agreed measures pro-actively where possible.
The EU expresses its grave concern over the growing number of people, including seafarers, held hostage. Prosecution and detention of pirates are key components of counter-piracy: the EU agrees on the need for strong support for continued capacity-building in the rule of law and penal detention sectors in Somalia and the wider region, which would also facilitate the conclusion of transfer agreements. The EU considers that work needs to be taken forward on contributing towards making progress on implementing lasting solutions for the prosecution of pirates, building on the work already done last year by the EU, and taking into account ongoing work in the UN context.
In this regard, the EU welcomes the report of the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on Legal Issues related to Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, and looks forward to the further debate in the UN on the implementation of its recommendations.
The EU emphasizes the need for work on disrupting the financial flows linked to piracy and addressing the situation of hostages.